Translation:Manshu/Chapter 2

Translation:Manshu by Fan Chuo, edited by Palace Museum Library, translated from Chinese by Walter Stanish and  Wikisource
Chapter 2

Translator's noteEdit

In general I am confident of a reasonable translation. The sections are of my own construction. Maps are yet to draw, and cross-referencing with existing identifications of some foreign names will be required.


Around Tuò​dōng​chéng (柘東城; ie. Kunming)Edit

The modern 'Golden Horse and Jade Chicken Square' (金馬碧雞廣場) in central Kunming, known succinctly to locals as 'Gold Jade Square' (金碧廣場) and named after the ancient names for the nearby mountains which are described in this section.
Chapter 2: Geography; or Mountains and rivers; or Mountains, River-plains, Rivers, and Headwaters (山川江源; shānchuān jiāng yuán) — Part 1: Around Tuò​dōng​chéng (柘東城; ie. Kunming)
Original Translation
金馬山在柘東城螺山南二十余裏,高百余丈,與碧雞山東南西北相對。 Jīnmǎ​shān​ (金馬山; lit. 'Golden Horse Mountain') is 20 li further south from Luó​shān​ (螺山; lit. 'Snail Mountain'[1]) of Tuò​dōng​chéng (柘東城; ie. Kunming[2]), and is 100 or more zhang in height (ie. over 330m[3]). On each side it is identical to[4] Bìjī​shān​ (碧雞山; lit. Jade-green Chicken Mountain).
土俗傳雲,昔有金馬,往往出見,山上亦有神祠。 Endemic tradition states that there was once a golden horse which would frequently appear, thus atop the mountain there exists a shrine [to the creature].
從漢界入蠻路,出此山之下。 From the Chinese controlled boundary, the Road to the Barbarian Lands (蠻路[5]) winds beneath this mountain.
螺山遍地悉是螺蛤,故以名焉。 Luó​shān​ (螺山; lit. 'Snail Mountain') is covered with[6] snails,[7] hence the name.[8]
碧雞山在昆池西岸上,與柘東城隔水相對。 Bìjī​shān​ (碧雞山; lit. Jade-green Chicken Mountain; ie. modern Xishan?) is on the western shore of Kūn​chí​ (昆池; ie. Dianchi[9]), across the water from Tuodongcheng (柘東城; ie. Kunming).
從東來者岡頭數十裏已見此山。 When coming from the east,[10] the ridgetop[11] is 10 li distant, then you are amongst[12] the mountains.
山勢特秀,池水清淡,水中有碧雞山石,山有洞庭樹,年月久遠,空有余本。 The mountain is particularly elegant in shape, the lakewater clear, and the stones of Bìjī​shān​ (碧雞山; lit. Jade-green Chicken Mountain; ie. modern Xishan?) amongst it. The mountain has caves, pavillions and forest. The passage of time is distant, and the airs are abundant.[13]

The Diàn​cāng​shān​ (玷蒼山; ie. Dali) RegionEdit

Chapter 2: Geography; or Mountains and rivers; or Mountains, River-plains, Rivers, and Headwaters (山川江源; shānchuān jiāng yuán) — The Diàn​cāng​shān​ (玷蒼山; ie. Dali) Region
Original Translation
玷蒼山(案:玷《唐書》作點),南自石橋,北抵登川,長一百五十余裏,名為玷蒼。 Diàn​cāng​shān​ (玷蒼山; lit. 'The Mountains of the Dian Mountain Range'; ie. modern Cangshan?[14]) (Note: The character 玷 is written with additional dots at left in the Tangshu (唐書).) sports a stone bridge to its south, Dēng​chuān​ (登川; lit. 'Trodden River Plains') at its northern foot, a length of 150 li and is known as Diàn​cāng​ (玷蒼; lit. 'Dian Mountain Range').
直南北,勸;不甚正。 The range runs directly north to south,[15] and does not deviate.[16]
東向洱河,城郭邑居,棋布山底。 At the eastern face is the ěr​hé​ River (洱河; lit. 'Ear River'[17]), residential villages outside the city walls, and the base of Qí​bù​ Mountain (棋布山; lit. 'Checker-cloth Mountain'[18]).
西面陡絕,下臨平川。 The west face is extremely precipitous, and abuts Píng​chuān (平川; lit. 'Flat and rivered area'[19]) at its base.
山頂高數千余丈,石棱青蒼,不通人路。 The summit is extremely high,[20] from which dark[21] stone protrudes, and it is impassable.
冬中有時墮雪。 In winter, snow falls on occasion.
囊蔥山在西洱河東隅,河流俯嚙山根。 Náng​cōng​shān​ (囊蔥山; lit. 'Pocket of [Green Onion/shallot/eschallot/scallion][22] Mountain') is on the eastern corner of the western ěr​hé​ River (洱河; lit. 'Ear River'),[23] which tumbles down to gnaw at the base of the mountains.[24]
土山無樹石,高處不過數十丈。 The earthen mountain sports neither forest nor stone, and its height does not exceed [approximately] 33 meters.[25]
面對賓居、越析,山下有路,從渠斂趙出登川。 It faces the visitor without motion,[26] towering and segregating. A road passes beneath, from Qú​liǎn​​ (從渠; lit. 'Dam ditch'[27]) beyond to Dēng​chuān​ (登川; lit. 'Trodden River Plains').

West of Yǒng​chāng (永昌; ie. Bǎoshān): the Gāo​lí​qí​shān​ Mountains (高黎其山) and the Nù​jiāng​ River (怒江; ie. Upper Salween)Edit

Chapter 2: Geography; or Mountains and rivers; or Mountains, River-plains, Rivers, and Headwaters (山川江源; shānchuān jiāng yuán) — West of Yǒng​chāng (永昌; ie. Baoshan): the Gāo​lí​qí​shān​ Mountains (高黎其山) and the Nù​jiāng​ River (怒江; ie. Upper Salween)
Original Translation
高黎其山在永昌西,下臨怒江。 Gāo​lí​qí​shān​ Mountains (高黎其山; lit. 'Tall Black Mountain(s)'[28]) is located to the west of [the presumed town or city of] Yǒng​chāng​ (永昌; lit. 'Perpetual Prosperity'), and overlooks the Nù​jiāng​ River (怒江; lit. 'Raging River'; ie. Upper Salween[29]).
左右平川,謂之穹賧,湯浪加萌所居也。 To either side[30] are flat river-plains, known for their perfectly clear skies [and by extension, uncomfortably harsh sun, which is soon to be emphasized using the same character sequence]. Dwellings appear where the current slows.[31]
草木不枯,有瘴氣。 The vegetation is habitually verdant,[32] and features a sickening miasma.[33]
自永昌之越賧,途經此山,一驛在山之半,一驛在山之巔。 From Yǒng​chāng​ (永昌; lit. 'Perpetual Prosperity') it is better to[34] pass through these mountains. There is a postal relay station half-way through the mountains, and one upon the summit.
朝濟怒江登山,暮方到山頂。 In the morning one crosses the Nù​jiāng​ River (怒江; lit. 'Raging River'; ie. Upper Salween) and climbs the mountain, but only reaches the summit in the evening.
冬中山上積雪苦寒,夏秋又苦穹賧、湯浪毒暑酷熱。 In winter the mountain is covered in snow and is bitterly cold. During summer and autumn the sky is clear and the sun once again relentless, the rushing torrent [exhaling][35] its poisonous and torrid heat.
河賧賈客在尋傳羈離未還者為之謠曰:「冬時欲歸來,高黎其上雪。秋夏欲歸來,無梆穹賧熱。春時欲歸來,平中絡賂絕。」(絡賂,財之名也) The clear river merchants (河賧賈客)[36] seek to set out during the 6th solar month (ie. 7th July—6th August). Those who have been state: "In winter we seek to return, as the Gāo​lí​qí​shān​ Mountain(s) (高黎其山; lit. 'Tall Black Mountain(s)') summit will be snowed-in. In summer and autumn we seek to return, as we do not wish to see the ascendance of the harsh sun and clear skies. What profits we make[37] are entirely lost[38] to the net of bribery."[39](Note: "The net of bribery" (絡賂) refers to fiscal matters.)
大雪山在永呂西北,從騰充過寶山城,又過金寶城以北大賧,周迥百余裏,悉皆野蠻,無君長也。 Dà​xuě​shān​ (大雪山; lit. 'Great Snowy Mountain(s)') is to the northwest of Yǒng​lǚ​ (永呂; lit. 'Perpetual High Pitch'[40]), from Téng​chōng (騰充; lit. 'Satisfying [Rapid Movement]'[41]), from Téng​chōng (騰充) to Bǎo​shān​ City (寶山城) one again passes through Jīn​bǎo​ City (金寶城) to the north of the great clear skies.[42] The whole trip is over 100 li, through wholly uncivilized lands without a single gentleman to develop them.
地有瘴毒,河賧人至彼中瘴者,十有八九死。 The land is infected with a miasma,[43] which most[44] of the peoples of the clear skies region[45] suffer from,[46] of whom eight or nine out of ten die.
閣羅鳳嘗使領軍將於大賧中築城,管制野蠻。 Géluófèng (閣羅鳳; ie. the second King of Nanzhao, essentially the author's sworn enemy[47]) led his troops to [make or take] a fortification in the clear skies region, in order to control the local barbarians.
不逾周歲,死者過半,遂罷棄,不復往來。 After less than a year, more than half the garrison were dead, and it was thus entirely abandoned with no further expeditions since.
其山上肥沃,種瓜瓠長丈余,冬瓜亦然,皆三尺圍。 The mountain top is fertile, growing copious melons and gourds of one zhang[48] in length, as well as wax gourd (冬瓜[49]) which is always three chǐ​ (ie. 1 meter) in circumference.
又多薏苡,無農桑,收此充糧。 In addition, there is a lot of Job's tear (薏苡[50]), there are no mulberry farms[51], and [yet] this is adequate annual provisioning.[52]
三面皆占大雪山,其高處造天。 From three sides great snowy mountains may be observed — that high place is heavenly.
往往有吐蕃至賧貨易,雲此山有路,去贊普牙帳不遠。 Frequently, Tibetans[53] come to trade in fine goods by a road across the mountains,[54] acquiring all types of ivory and screens[55] for little.[56]

north of kunming (xichang area)Edit

Chapter 2: Geography; or Mountains and rivers; or Mountains, River-plains, Rivers, and Headwaters (山川江源; shānchuān jiāng yuán) — north of kunming (xichang area)
Original Translation
又有水,源出臺登山,南流過巂州,西南至會州諾賧與東瀘,(此處似有脫漏)古諾水也。 There is another river, originating high in the mountains, flowing south toward Guīzhōu (巂州; ie. modern Xichang[57]). Further southwest is Huì​zhōu​ (會州), Nuòdǎn​​ (諾賧)[58] and the East River (東瀘), which is the same as the ancient Nuòshuǐ​ [River] (諾水; lit. Jinshajiang / Upper Yangtse?).
源出蕃中節度北,謂之諾矣江,南郎部落,又東折流至尋傳部落,與磨些江合。 Originating[59] roughly[60] in Tibet's[61] north, known as the Nuò​yǐ​jiāng​ [River] (諾矣江), it moves south to the Yang tribe (郎部落),[62] then turns to flow east to find the Zhuàn tribe (傳部落), and combine with several tributaries.
源出吐蕃中節度西其籠川犛牛石下,故謂之犛牛河。 Originating under the Lí​niúshí Mountain​​ (犛牛石; lit. 'Black Ox Cliff') of western Tibet's Lǒng​chuān (籠川; lit. 'Dragon [Watered-]Plain'), it was formerly known as Lí​niú River (犛牛河; lit. 'Black Ox River').
環繞弄視川,南流過<鳥戔>橋上下磨些部落,即謂之磨些江。 It skirts the Sichuan basin, running south over and beyond the Small Bird Bridge (<鳥戔>[63]橋) to the Mó​xiē​ Tribe (磨些部落), and is known as the Mó​xiē​ River (磨些江).[64]
至尋傳與東瀘水合,東北過會同川,總名瀘水。 Xúnzhuàn (尋傳; lit. 'Searching Station') is found within the eastern portion of Lúshuǐ (瀘水)[65] from where a northeasterly passage is possible[66] to Tóngchuān (同川; lit. 'The river-plain of copper'). All these places are part of Lúshuǐ (瀘水).[67]
蜀忠武侯諸葛亮伐南蠻,五月渡瀘水處,在弄棟城北,今謂之南瀘。 Zhūgě Liàng (諸葛亮[68]) attacked the southern barbarians, and in the fifth month of the lunar year (ie. approximately May of the year 225[69]) crossed the Lúshuǐ (瀘水)[70] river at a place to the north of Lòngdòngchéng (弄棟城; lit. 'The town with a lane or alley of buildings'[71]), which is known in the present-day[72] as Nánlú (南瀘; lit. 'The place south of the Lu [River]').
兩岸葭,大如臂脛。 Both banks of the river were huge, like limbs.[73]
川中氣候常熱,雖至冬,行過者皆袒衣流汗。 The local microclimate in the river-valley[74] is always warm right through to the winter, and those traversing sweat and are compelled to dress loosely.
又東北入戎州界為馬湖,至關邊縣門,與朱提江合,流戎門南城入外江。 To the northeast one may enter the border of Róngzhōu (戎州; lit. 'Military Prefecture'[75]) and its Wèimǎhú (為馬湖; lit. 'Horse-watering Lake'[76]), thence Guānbiānxiànmén (關邊縣門; lit. 'Border-Pass-County Gate'[77]), which together with the Zhūtíjiāng [River] (朱提江; lit. 'River of the Vermillion Stroke'[78]) flows to a confluence[79] at Róngménnánchéng' (戎門南城; lit. '[a or the] city to the south of the military gate').[80]

around kunmingEdit

Chapter 2: Geography; or Mountains and rivers; or Mountains, River-plains, Rivers, and Headwaters (山川江源; shānchuān jiāng yuán) — around kunming
Original Translation
昆池在柘東城西,南百余裏,四十五裏(案:此四字疑衍文) Kunchi (昆池; lit. 'The Pond of Kun'; ie. modern Dianchi[81]) is to the west[82] of Tuodongcheng (柘東城; ie. modern Kunming), and extends some 100 or so li southward, [and] 45 li [east to west].[83](Untranslated comment from later attempt at interpretation.)
水源從金馬山東北來。 The water's source is the northeast of Jinmashan [Mountain] (金馬山; lit. 'Golden Horse Mountain'; ie. apparently an ancient toponym referring to the north-south range at the east of the Kunming plateau, but presumably particularly the higher peaks between modern Chengjiang (澄江) and southern Kunming's Dounan (斗南).[84]).[85]
柘東城北十數余裏,官路有橋渡此。 Over 10 li north Tuodong [City] (ie. 柘東城; modern Kunming) city, there is a river-spanning bridge[86] on the military road.[87]
水闊二丈余,清深迅急,至碧雞山下,為昆州,因水為名也,土蠻亦呼名滇池(案:今晉寧川中,自有大池,在東南,當是滇池。水不可呼池,乃蠻不能別) The water is over two zhang in width (ie. 10 or 20 meters or so[88]), clear, deep and flows rapidly to the base of Bijishan [Mountain] (碧雞山; lit. 'Jade[-Coloured] Chicken Mountain'). It is part of the Kunzhou (昆州; lit. 'Kun [river valley or flatland]') [political/administrative region], which is named after the [lake] water, which the local barbarians know as Dianchi (滇池[89]). (Later intepreter's note states that this refers to the modern Jinning estuary zone, a point from which the lake (modern Dianchi, or the Kunchi/[Barbarian tongue] Dianchi of this text) is located to the southeast, and draws questionable[90] inferences about the local water flow.[91])
滇池水亦名東昆池,西南繞山,又西北池流為河,過安寧城下。 Dianchi [Lake]'s water is also known as Eastern Kunchi [Lake] (東昆池), it is ringed by mountains to the southwest, flows in to a river to the northwest through the Northwestern Lake (西北池)[92] and flows beneath Anning [City] (安寧城).
亙水東西,有橋三十,一闊長三百余步。 From east to west the waters have thirty bridges, as broad as one zhang and three hundred or so steps.
徒行七日程與瀘水合。 It is a seven day journey to Lushui (瀘水).
又量水川在滇池南兩日程,漢舊黎州也。 Liangshuichuan (量水川; lit. 'Measured-Water Riverplain'[93]) is two days travel to the south of Dianchi [Lake] (滇池) and belonged to the Lizhou Region (黎州) during the Shu Kingdom of the Han Dynasty (漢舊).[94]
川中有大池,其水東泄。 Within the river-plain[95] lies a large water-body[96], from which water flows rapidly to the east.[97]
流處出一石竇中,流水甚廣,石竇甚狹。 The water comes out of a stone spring, flowing remarkably broadly though the space from which it emerges from the stone is tiny.
土蠻雲,忽竇空,百姓憂溺。 According to the local barbarians, the space opened suddenly, and the population were threatened with drowning.[98]
新豐川亦有大池甚廣。 Xinfengchuan (新豐川; lit. 'New Bountiful River-plain') also has a great and very broad lake.

The Láncāngjiāng (瀾滄江; ie. Mekong) River and Yǒngchāng (永昌; ie. Bǎoshān)Edit

Chapter 2: Geography; or Mountains and rivers; or Mountains, River-plains, Rivers, and Headwaters (山川江源; shānchuān jiāng yuán) — The Láncāngjiāng (瀾滄江; ie. Mekong) River and Yǒngchāng (永昌; ie. Bǎoshān)
Original Translation
瀾滄江,源出吐蕃中大雪山下莎川。 The Láncāngjiāng [River] (瀾滄江; ie. Mekong river), originates from great snowy mountains in Tubo [Region] (吐蕃; ie. the Kham Tibetan region[99], descending via Shāchuān (莎川; roughly 'Verdant Sands River-valley'[100]).
東南過聿賫城西,謂之瀨水河,又過順蠻部落。 It flows southeast — to the west of 聿賫城 [City] (聿賫城[101]) at a place known as Laishuihe (瀨水河), continuing onward past the Shunman [Barbarian Tribe] (順蠻部落; lit. 'Shun Barbarian Tribe'[102]).
南流過劍川大山之西。 It flows southward to the great mountains west of Jianchuan (劍川[103]),
瀾滄江南流入海。 The Lancangjiang (瀾滄江; ie. Mekong) [then/thereafter] flows south to the ocean.[104]
龍尾城西第七驛有橋,即永昌也。 The seventh traveller's rest stop to the west of Longweicheng (龍尾城; ie. modern Xiaguan) has a bridge and is known as Yǒngchāng (永昌; lit. 'perpetual [goodness as embodied by sunlight]'; modern 保山/Bǎoshān[105]).
兩岸高險,水迅激。 The two cliffs [at Yongchang] are extremely high and the water flows rapidly.
橫亙大竹索為梁,上布簀,簀上實板,仍通以竹屋蓋橋。 All the way across span great bamboo beams[106] covered with reed mats,[107] atop which are layered good and strong wooden planks,[108] and by means of a bamboo structure effect a covered bridge.[109]
其穿索石孔,孔明所鑿也。 It passes through the stone hole bored by Zhuge Liang (孔明).
昔諸葛征永昌,於此築城。 Previously, he journeyed to[110] Yongchang (ie. modern Baoshan) from these fortifications.
今江西山上有廢城遺跡及古碑猶存,亦有神祠廟存焉。 Today, within the mountains to the west of the river remnants of a ruined town[111] and an ancient stelae[112] are still extant,[113] as is a temple to the ancestors.[114]
又麗水,一名祿{曰鬥}江(案:「{曰鬥}」字,字書不載) Another magnificent river is the Lucky [Raging Gorge] River (祿{曰鬥}江[115]).(Previous transliterator's note: The character to which {曰鬥} refers is unknown.)
源自邏些城三危山下。 It originates from beneath Sanwei Mountain (三危山; lit. 'Three Dangers Mountain') at Luoxie [City] (邏些城; lit. '[Walled][116] Settlement of the Few [Patrols or Routes]').
南流過麗水城西,又南至蒼望。 To the south it flows beyond the west of Lishui [City] (麗水城; lit. '[City of] Beautiful Waters'), and proceeds further southward toward the Cang Mountain [range].[117]
又東南過道雙王道勿川。 Continuing southeast it passes the Road of the Two Kings (雙王道) yet never arriving at a riverplain.[118]
西過彌諾道立柵,又西與彌諾江合流。 To the west it passes Minuo Road (彌諾道; minuodao; [119] and further west joins its waters with the Minuo River (彌諾江; ie. a mid-Mekong tributary?[120]).
過驃國南入於海。 It crosses through the Country of the Piao (驃國[121]) and thence in to the ocean.[122]
水中有蛟龍、鱷魚、烏鲗魚。 Among its waters swim large[123] shrimp, crocodiles,[124] and black cuttlefish.[125]
又有水獸似牛,遊泳則波濤沸湧,狀如海潮。 There are also water-beasts that are like buffalo,[126] which when they swim create waves in the water[127] like the tide.
《禹貢》:導黑水至於三危,蓋此是也。 [A quote from] Yugong (禹貢[128]): Guide[129] the black waters[130] to enter[131] The Three Dangers (三危; sanwei), this is as it should be.
或雲源當是大月河,恐非也。 Otherwise the source in Yunnan is thought to be the Great Moon River (大月河), which is afraid of nothing.[132]
又彌諾江在麗水西,源出西北小婆羅門國。 The Minuojiang (彌諾江) lies to the west of Lishui (麗水), appearing from the northwest in the country of Little Poluomen (小婆羅門國[133])
南流過湧腋苴川,又東南至兜彌伽木柵,分流繞柵,居沙灘南北一百裏,東西六十裏。 Southward flow beyond Yongyeju River Plain (湧腋苴川; lit. [134]), then onward to the southeast to the border[135] of Doumijiamu (兜彌伽木[136]) then splits to wind around the border and stop within a sandy water body that is 100 li in north-to-south by 60 li east-west.[137]
合流正東,過彌臣國,南入於海。 The waters flow to the east, passing the entire length of the Country of Chen (臣國[138]), and empty southward in to the ocean.

References and notesEdit

  1. Perhaps this may refer to mountains to the south-southeast of Kunming, between the Chenggong/Dounan area of south-eastern Kunming (recently extensively developed but historically very much inhabited) and the Fuxian Lake basin, or it may be an old name for what is now known as Changchongshan' (长虫山), which dominates the view north from central Kunming and offers sweeping views of the Dianchi Lake (滇池) basin. In any case, a further clue to its identity is shortly revealed in its name — ie. that within the name, apparently the 'snail' rather than 'spiral' sense of the character 螺 is used.
  2. See chapter one for an explanation — basically the character 柘 should reasonably be equated semantically in this text when writing 柘東城 with the more usual 拓 for the same, a well known historic name for Kunming.
  3. Assuming one zhang (丈) is 3.3m.
  4. Alternatively, 'opposes' or 'is equivalent to'.
  5. Presumably the road southward down the eastern edge of the lake defining the basin known within this text as 昆池 (Kūn​chí) and in modern times as Dianchí (滇池). The combined traffic in this direction would have been along at least two routes known for trade since ancient times, both that presumably 'better known' southeastward to Vietnam via Tonghai, Jianshui, and possibly Gejiu and Mengzi, and a presumably lesser known series of routes running south to Xishuangbanna via Pu'er (modern Ning'er) and Simao (modern Pu'er) toward the Tai lands of the modern Jinghong basin thence southward to Burma, Laos and Thailand.
  6. 遍地悉是 — literally 'all places totally are'.
  7. 螺蛤
  8. 故以名焉 — literally an amusing collection of characters, rather like 'cause thus name how'.
  9. Presumably 昆池 (Kūn​chí) refers to modern Dianchí (滇池) rather than Green Lake (翠湖), which has no major hill to its west and but minor ones to its north, east and south.
  10. Presumably this basically means "when coming the city".
  11. Perhaps referring to the relative pass, or saddle-like ridge depression on the extreme north of the range, approximately directly west of the modern extent of water and to the south of which ascends the modern road to the Dragon's Gate (龙门) past numerous temple buildings, as this would have been a natural means of westerly progression for travellers.
  12. Actually, the text writes 已見此山 — "you can already see the mountains", though this makes little sense semantically since they are visible from a great distance. It makes more sense to take an 'are within' or 'are amongst' sense with the text here, particularly as the shape of the water means the route is somewhat indirect, veering west then south, thus giving more purpose to the statement.
  13. This appears to be a classical Chinese literary / Daoist reference of some kind; a Daoist sense of the character 本 in particular. Essentially it's getting at the naturally pregnant / abundant nature of the place.
  14. Modern Cangshan (苍山) to the west of Dali meets most of the descriptive parameters and would seem to be a logical progression in the context of the text.
  15. Meeting the Dali Cangshan assumption.
  16. My reading here appears essentially correct and reasonable in context, however when reading more festidiously the characters 勸不甚正 could be interpreted more literally, perhaps "as such, no correction [in navigation path when passing the mountains] is necessary".
  17. Further encouraging the Dali Cangshan assumption; the lake in to which all rivers on this range drain is today known as 耳海.
  18. The checker notion may refer to sparse forest cover, since there is a snowline here.
  19. Definitely not referring to the site of modern Pingchuan village (平川镇) in Bingchuan county (宾川县), Dali prefecture (大理州) since this is far to the east, across the lake, in completely different topography.
  20. The actual number given is 1000 zhang, or 3.3km assuming a normal 3.3 meter value for the zhang unit. This is obviously not meant to be taken literally and is figurative: (1) the round number; (2) the fact that the text will be discussing things from a relative base of the Erhai valley as opposed to modern sea level (which wouldn't be far off!); (3) previous, similar references in the same text have been similarly determined to be figurative.
  21. 青蒼 — apparently no particular color in the grey/black/green/dark range.
  22. An edible wild onion or onion-like species, quite possibly Allium chinense (commonly known as, variously Chinese onion, Chinese scallion, Japanese scallion, Kiangsi scallion, and Oriental onion). This implies the presence of wild plants on the mountain, which is not too unlikely climatically and could be validated through further study.
  23. Note that it is not totally clear from the text whether in fact this is referring to the western portion of the river or an entirely different river with the name West Ear River (西洱河). However, the western portion seems likely.
  24. 山根 — literally 'mountain root'.
  25. Again, this figure is based on one zhang (丈) being 3.3m.
  26. A tad vague on this part, but it's thereabouts.
  27. Implying a reasonable period of nontrivial, settled agriculture.
  28. Presumably some relation to the modern Gaoligongshan.
  29. Well known identification.
  30. The text states 'left and right' but as we are not oriented, this seems a smoother translation.
  31. Alternatively, one could read more literally as "[The town or village of] Shāng​làng​ (湯浪) is located where the current slows." however this seems less likely to me (though do not hold this opinion up as unassailable, by any means!) for a few reasons: (1) There is no precedent for discussing a particular location, rather the established context is a range of locations either side of the mountains. (2) The use of 也 is (to my inexperienced eyes) a classical Chinese flourish in this later-period text which alludes to the elevation of the prior phrase to literary modes of interpretation (note that Shāng​làng​ (湯浪) quite possibly rhymed in the Tang Dynasty). (3) The double verb phrase 加萌 — roughly 'to be added forth by sprouting' also suggests literary modes of expression, to my eyes. (4) The same phrase is mentioned shortly and also does not strike me as a place name in that context.
  32. The text actually states 'never dries', implying an absence of deciduous foliage, ie. total dominance of evergreen vegetation. This may perhaps be safely read to suggest 'evergreen pine forest' or 'subtropical rainforest'.
  33. Almost certainly a reference to the then highly lethal disease Malaria, which was apparently one of many diseases misunderstood by pre-modern peoples (ie. prior to the discovery of bacteria and advances in toxicology) to be contracted through the inhalation of foul smells.
  34. This is my in-context (ie. versus the miasma) reading of 自永昌之越賧 and is not completely certain — an alternate reading would be "From Yongchang to Yuedan", though Yuedan (lit. 'More fine') makes little sense as a place name and seems an unlikely option.
  35. This word inserted for ease of translation; phrases this flowery rarely exist in modern English!
  36. Apparently some form of reference to merchants operating over the mountains in this area.
  37. The actual characters are 平中 — admittedly 'the balance' would be a closer translation but reads poorly in context.
  38. While our author's character has earlier seemed hard in places, the inclusion of this rather personal description could be seen as an honest attempt to report the misgivings of (potential) subjects with respect to local corruption or tolls.
  39. Apparently the character 呂 within the place name refers specifically to one of the twelve semitones in the traditional Chinese musical tone system. This is quite an eloquent name which makes sense as high mountains feature wind which can be understood to create a high pitched, constant tone.
  40. Modern place name remains constant. Tengchong is an ancient Han Chinese outpost in Yunnan which was used for Southern Silk Road trade with Burma for Jade, and beyond to India and possibly further afield.
  41. This part is iffy. Perhaps 大賧 is a place name after all?
  42. Again, probably a reference to Malaria.
  43. 至 in a less common sense.
  44. 河賧人
  45. 彼中瘴者 — [those] [suffer - a rarer sense of 中] [miasma] [is/are/ongoing effect]
  46. Géluófèng (閣羅鳳; 712-779) was Nanzhao's second king who reigned from 748-779. In 750 he retaliated for the murder of Nanzhao envoys by Chinese officials, beginning the acceleration of large-scale hostilities that would eventually lead to all out war and the taking of Sichuan and Chengdu by Nanzhao.
  47. ie. 3.3m
  48. Cucurbitaceae, Benincasa hispida / white gourd / white hairy melon / Chinese squash / 'winter melon'.
  49. Coix lacryma, erroneously called Chinese pearl barley.
  50. Significant to the Chinese observers with regards to sericulture (silk-making).
  51. There are alternate readings like 'for the grain tax' though unlikely in context.
  52. The text uses the term Tubo or Tufan, which is an old name for Tibet or the Tibetan Tubo dynasty, which reigned from the 7th—11th centuries AD (ie. at the time of our text).
  53. This much is clear.
  54. By which internal, Chinese style carved or (less likely) painted screens with wooden or (less likely) metal frames are probably referred to.
  55. "For little" is acquired by dubious interpretation: 不遠 — "not [much]", perhaps.
  56. Modern 四川省西昌市 — - a region in far-southern Sichuan, approximately directly north of modern Kunming, across the Jinshajiang or upper Yangtze. For background see the corresponding Chinese Wikipedia or Baidu Baike entries.
  57. This particular part is a little unclear. It seems there may be a grammatical intepretation issue, however I cannot see an alternate interpretation. Treat with caution.
  58. 源出
  59. 度 — apparently this is a valid reading.
  60. 蕃中
  61. This portion seems questionable to me, but I cannot find a more logical reading.
  62. This notation refers to a character that is comprised of 鳥 on the left and 戔 on the right, but is not easily reproducible electronically.
  63. Actually I had interpreted this as 'several tribes' but the repetition in the river name accords for a different interpretation, as presented.
  64. In modern times this refers to Lushui county, Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture (怒江傈僳族自治州), in northwest Yunnan, near Tibet and Burma's northernmost Kachin state. However, in context this identification is possibly doubtful.
  65. This grammatical interpretation is not confident.
  66. The text actually says they all fall under the name, but the adaptation seems to add clarity.
  67. Zhuge Liang (181-234), military leader and prime minister of Shu Han 蜀漢/蜀汉 during the Three Kingdoms period.
  68. For more information on this campaign, see Zhuge Liang's Southern Campaign at English Wikipedia.
  69. The formerly questionable potential identification with Nujiang now becomes highly doubtful, in fact almost certainly incorrect.
  70. The single lane notion may be read to suggest a torturous or steep geography, yet was probably a town of some decent size in order to achieve the 城 designation.
  71. ie. At the time of writing, which is now 1000 years ago.
  72. Presumably referring to cliffs, rocks, outcrops, some other topographic anomaly.
  73. An alternate translation would be '... in the Sichuan basin' though this appears to be too broad/out of context.
  74. Note that this may not be an actual place name .. further research will be required to determine how specific this reference is.
  75. Presumably.
  76. Presumably a locally significant natural pass with military benefit for defence purposes.
  77. Really a rather literal translation — looser and more natural for modern English may be 'Vermillion River'.
  78. 入外江 — literally to 'enter an external or foreign stream'.
  79. All rather indistinct, but carefully translated nonetheless to hopefully provide clarity of reference where present in the original.
  80. 滇池
  81. In fact, geographically the lake very likely (as estimated with modern waterline) extended both to the southwest through south-southeast of the city. The city at this point was more compact and roughly centered around what is modern Kunming's Green Lake (翠湖) area. A compounding reason the writer refers to the west as the direction in which to find the lake, excluding the south, is that this is the northernmost point of the lake from which the subsequent measurement (to the south) enumerating the lake's scale is extended.
  82. The original literally says "[Dianchi] is west of [Kunming], 100 or so li south, 45 li.". Presumably this means "... from which it is 100 li [north-to-]south, and 45 li [east-to-west].". No other interpretation presents itself as meaningful in context.
  83. The initial component of 金马碧鸡 (lit. "Golden Horse [Mountain] [and] Jade Chicken [Mountain]") referring to the west and east mountains on either side of Kunming, said to be facing one another, and named according to legend explained in the previous chapter of this translation.
  84. The specification of this (north-eastern side of the eastern range) as the water source is interesting, though probably not entirely accurate as the watershed obviously includes all sides of the lake-valley plateau. In former times, however, it is known that numerous surface streams (now dammed or sealed) flowed toward to the lake from the northern portion of the plateau, and the city of Kunming itself was connected to the lake by river-canal in the area that is now Daguanlou Park (大观楼公园). Numerous Qing-dynasty images are available of boats here, which made overnight trips south down the lake to Kunyang (昆阳). Given that these streams were possibly higher in volume and closer to Kunming, it is understandable that ancient geographical reckoning may have considered these northern streams the primary or sole source of the lake water. Interestingly also, in recent years a historical hydrographic study has been made of Fuxian Lake (抚仙湖) — the neighbouring lake to the southeast and on the other side of the Jimashan Mountain — in conjunction with the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, finding that its depth began to steadily increase a few hundred years BCE (I can't recall the reason, though perhaps this was due to the collapse or sedimentation of an underground cavern previously draining water elsewhere or pure climate change?) however I am not aware of any similar study of the historical water levels of Kunming's lake — here known as Kunchi (昆池) and now known as Dianchi (滇池), which could affect interpretation.
  85. 橋渡 — literally '[bridge] + [cross a river]'
  86. 官路 — this may be incorrect but seems the most likely. Alternate translations would include abbreviated place names beginning with the character 官 but no such places come to mind, are referenced nearby in this text.
  87. I should look this up specifically!
  88. Amusingly, with reference to modern toponyms, it seems that the barbarian name rather than the Han Chinese name was the one that stuck!
  89. By self-admission.
  90. Common to certain geographical references in this text, this interpretation does not appear to make perfect sense given the directions specified in the text anyway. Given that we were focused on the north a mere few characters ago, jumping to the southernmost point of the lake seems extremely obtuse. This interpretation may have occurred via modern comprehension of the fact that there is apparently an outflow beginning in this area, taking water to the northwest through a tributary to the upper Yangtse. Personally I would class this whole section of text as evidencing little but alleged etymology, general river flow volume and a baseline contemporary engineering capacity in the general Kunming lake-plateau region with reference to bridge spans.
  91. As per the previous interpretive note, this remains unclear. It could be a reference to the outflow northwest of Jinning/Kunyang, or it could be a reference to the northernmost portion of the lake's modern shores between modern Kunming and Xishan. Either way, it is referring to the western edge of the lake or some very nearby area.
  92. Possibly the measure character refers to the same grammatical/semantic shift as 又, in which case the place is called Shuichuan (水川) and not Liangshuichuan, in which case the literal meaning is merely 'Water Delta' or 'River-plain of water'.
  93. ie. Zhugeliang's time.
  94. 川中
  95. 大池 — conventionally variously translated with overspecificity as a lake, pond or pool.
  96. It may be useful to identify general candidates for this probably still identifiable geographic feature and to verify any potential identification with research in to established identifications of Lizhou.
  97. Or perhaps a more potential take: "... can open suddenly and threaten to drown the population."
  98. The far southeastern portion of the Tibetan cultural zone, incorporating portions of modern Sichuan, Tibet and Yunnan provinces.
  99. By admittedly obtuse but fair reading of the component radicals of shā (莎) — ie. vegetation and sand.
  100. I must remember to look this up...
  101. The man (蠻) part in the inline translation means barbarian.
  102. This area is currently the subject of a very important archaeological dig revealing the earliest significant population showing evidence of intensive rice agriculture (it also has very early, possibly the earliest stilt houses in the entire region). Its location on a small, fertile, elevated lake plateau between much of Yunnan and the Tibetan empire made it an ancient center of trade and presumably cultural and technological exchange.
  103. This is a huge generalization. While roughly true it neglects thousands of kilometers of malarial jungle, three prominent eastward turns (one nearby, one in Laos and one in Cambodia) and the huge Tonle Sap Lake. It is unlikely therefore that this statement reflects actual travel experience but rather a combination of assumption and literary reference. Some four hundred odd years later, literary records evidence an established trade route from Thailand's then kingdom of Ayutthaya to Yunnan overland along this very arduous route.
  104. Presumably this may mean seven days' journey.
  105. 大竹; lit. 'Great Bamboo'. Apparently literal use, and not referring to modern Dazhu county in Dazhou (达州達州), Sichuan (四川).
  106. 上布簀 - literally 'above' [is] 'cloth' [of the type] 'reed mat'
  107. 'Good and strong wooden planks' seems the best translation for 實 ('good'/'solid'/'true') in the 實板 sense used.
  108. This last part is a little interpretive, as the precise sense of 仍通以 is unclear to me. In any event, the content is essentially correct.
  109. Probably meaning went on an aggressive military campaign to...
  110. 廢城 — could be a 'ruined city wall' but town seems more in keeping with the prior sense of the translation in explaining the place as one that was inhabited for periods of time and used as an ancient fortification.
  111. 古碑
  112. 猶存 — literally 'still survive'.
  113. 神祠廟 — One could take 神 to mean gods, and 祠 to mean Confucian-style ancestor worship. That may be a little liberal, but at a minimum the sense of a temple is apparently accurate, as is the Confucian component. It is interesting to note, given the early period in history discussed, that Confucius (551–479 BCE) was from Qufu in Shandong (山东曲阜), which is virtually the opposite side of China, and that Zhugeliang hailed from the same region, a mere 50km to the east of Qufu in modern Yinan county (沂南县).
  114. The character {曰鬥} is of unknown pronunciation but presumably refers in its initial radical 「曰」to 'speech' or rather the idea of the creation of noise, and in its latter 「鬥」 ("gate" or "pass") radical to the a river passing betwixt a deep or tight gorge. Thus, a combined meaning has here been assumed from component radicals.
  115. Probably.
  116. 蒼 is used here to refer to the range and could potentially be interpreted in a generic fashion but is here from context clearly the local toponym.
  117. This interpretation of 勿川 appears likely to me but could be in error. If I am extremely in error, there may even be a place known as Wuchuan (勿川) to which the river flows, though unlikely.
  118. Literally the component characters are mi (secret/total/complete/more), nuo (promise/consent), perhaps suggesting a 'new deal' (in the parlance of 20th century politics) but apparently too much a toponym to be taken that literally and probably named after the river in the following reference, considerably less likely to have been given a name due to political change.
  119. The only major river valley to the west of the Mekong within a reasonable distance is the Salween. If this refers to the Salween, the text may here refer to a tributary west or southwest of Baoshan, such as the Luomingba River (罗明坝河), the Shidian River (施甸河), or something still further south.
  120. Probably easily resolvable, possibly related to Pyu as in Mon-Khmer language family predecessor kingdoms in Burma.
  121. This probably refers to second hand or tertiary information about the distant delta of the river, which would have been a significant and dangerous journey for the highland Yunnanese (eg. Nanzhao) or other Chinese peoples owing to the ease of death from then relatively untreatable and misunderstood malaria.
  122. Literally 'dragon sized' (蛟龍).
  123. 鱷魚
  124. Loose translation of 烏鲗魚 which may have no modern equivalent.
  125. Here possibly referring to now extinct rhinoceros or hippopotamus endemic to the area?
  126. This part is rather vague and may require further attention.
  127. Not sure if this is a book or a person!
  128. 黑水
  129. 至於
  130. 恐非也 — [afraid] [not] [is/indeed]
  131. Not sure where this is, though possibly some portion of the Kachin state in northern Burma adjacent to Kham Tibet.
  132. I have a sense this is incorrect though cannot with presently conceived potential interpretations see an alternate solution but to group these characters all within the place name. If I am incorrect in doing so, then the real place name is either Yeju River Plan (lit. 'the armpit or corner of female hemp plants', ie. Marijuana), or Ju River Plain (lit. 'the river plain of female hemp plants', ie. Marijuana). With any interpretation, there was definitely a volume of wild Marijuana (cannabis) here.
  133. 柵 — more literally fence.
  134. This series of characters looks suspiciously like a transliteration from a non Chinese (possibly Tibeto-Burman) language, which would have been the lingua-franca of the region's smaller polities. I am going to guess without confirmation that it is a contemporary transliteration for whatever state Khmer Empire was at the time, lengthy owing to the habit of using semi-mystical foreign Sanskrit nomenclature imported from southwest India (circa Kerala/Karnataka) in their state ritual.
  135. This should refer, assuming the Cambodian identification is correct for Doumijiamu, to the famous Tonle Sap lake, the 'lungs of the Mekong'. Unfortunately, the scale given places it on precisely the wrong axis (north-south rather than east-west), a mistake that may have derived from a non north-south orientation of buildings of the Angkor complex that was unfamiliar to the traditionally southward-orienting Chinese imperial builders.
  136. An identification for this should be possible. In following the Khmer identification of the prior portion of the text, this would very likely be the fellow Indianized kingdom of Chenla/Zhenla or the Chams, who were only conquered by the invading Vietnamese/Chinese armies in central Vietnam later on around the dawn of the Ming Dynasty.